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Alice in Wonderland Syndrome

By Nidhi Gandhi

Highlights

  • Alice in Wonderland Syndrome is one of the rarest in the world. There is no effective cure or treatment.

  • This syndrome is usually seen in children and young adults.

Introduction


What is Alice in Wonderland Syndrome (AIWS), otherwise known as Todd Syndrome? This is a rare neurological condition that causes a person’s perception of their body image to be altered. This syndrome can affect all senses but mostly eyesight, touch, and hearing. Based on research, it tends to target adolescents and young adults.


Understanding Symptoms and Diagnosis


This basic syndrome causes distortion of time, size, and body image. Although, there are other symptoms that come with this disorder: migraines, loss of limb control and loss of coordination. Due to the rarity of this disorder, there are no standard guidelines for doctors to follow in diagnosing AIWS. But in most cases, doctors will perform neurological and psychological consultations to assess a patient’s mental health, along with blood tests and MRI scans of the brain.


Causes


The causes are still a wonder but there are a few triggers that scientists believe have a connection to this syndrome. The potential triggers include temporal lobe epilepsies, severe migraines, brain tumors, and psychoactive drugs. There is also minor research proving that AIWS may be hereditary since it mostly affects young patients.


Treatment


There is no proven, effective treatment for AIWS, so doctors tend to aim for the symptoms of the disorder instead. They usually use migraine prophylaxis and migraine diet for their patients. Additionally, doctors can use psychological consultations, blood tests, and brain scans to further determine if there is an underlying medical condition behind the syndrome. This way, they can focus on the origin of the problem.


Did you Know?


According to Doctor Anjan Chatterjee, the author of Alice's Adventures in Wonderland was affected by AIWS while writing his book. The author’s name is Lewis Carroll and he used to write diary entries throughout his writing process. Based on his diary entries, migraines may have been the origin of some of the unique parts of his story. One example in the book is when Alice drinks a bottle of a mysterious liquid and immediately shrinks to less than a foot tall. Right after that, she takes a bite of cake and grows tall enough to hit her head on the ceiling. The author depicts distortions in his characters in multiple parts of his book— and he depicts it amazingly— almost too well.


References


Holland, Kimberly. “Alice in Wonderland Syndrome: Symptoms, Treatment, and More.” Healthline, Healthline Media, 17 Apr. 2019, https://www.healthline.com/health/alice-in-wonderland-syndrome.


“Maples Scientific Publisher: Open Access Journals: Peer-Reviewed Journals.” MaplesPub, https://maplespub.com/article/Alice-in-Wonderland-Syndrome-Is-There-a-Genetic-Origin.


Upham, Becky, et al. “All about Alice in Wonderland Syndrome.” EverydayHealth.com, https://www.everydayhealth.com/migraine/interesting-facts-about-alice-in-wonderland-syndrome/.


Weissenstein, Anne, et al. “Alice in Wonderland Syndrome: A Rare Neurological Manifestation with Microscopy in a 6-Year-Old Child.” Journal of Pediatric Neurosciences, Medknow Publications & Media Pvt Ltd, 2014, https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4302569/.


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